Current Giveaways

Word Spelunking’s temporary hiatus is now permanent. All requests are closed and there will be no new content. Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with and everyone who has read and supported this blog. Y’all are awesome!!

Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Review: Dream Big, Little Scientists by Michelle Schaub (giveaway)

Dream Big, Little Scientists 
By Michelle Schaub 
Illustrated by Alice Potter 

Twelve kids. A dozen bedtimes. Endless sweet ways to say goodnight with science! 

Spark curiosity and exploration with this innovative bedtime story for budding scientists that introduces eleven branches of science. From astronomy to physics to chemistry to geology, this STEM picture book will help kids get excited to explore. Includes further information about each branch of science. 


In Dream Big, Little Scientists, little readers will meet 12 diverse little scientists, each excited about a different branch of science, as they set off to sleep. 

Dream Big, Little Scientists joyously celebrates the fascinating world of science through Michelle Schaub’s soothing and fun rhyming text and Alice Potter’s engaging illustrations. Through quick, clever rhymes, Schaub briefly, yet captivatingly, touches on each cool branch of science. And, each branch is further explained in easily understood language, at the back of the book. Potter further explores the world of science with detailed, colorful illustrations of each child’s unique bedrooms, each decorated around their chosen branch of science, including portraits of famous scientists in that field. Little readers will love discovering each neat detail found in the rooms. 

Bursting with STEM goodness, lyrical text, and fun pictures, the delightful Dream Big, Little Scientists will get readers excited about science and inspire their imaginations, curiosity, and minds! 

Michelle Schaub is an award-winning children’s author and veteran teacher. Her book Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market won the 2018 Growing Good Kids Award and 2019 Northern Lights Book Award. She is the author of Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections and Dream Big, Little Scientists. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including The Poetry Anthology for Celebrations and Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud. Michelle speaks at conferences on the power of poetry to boost literacy and shares ways to use poetry in the classroom on her blog POETRY BOOST, 

Alice Potter is a children's illustrator and pattern designer based in London, UK.  

Win a copy of Dream Big, Little Scientists! 
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Dream Big, Little Scientists, courtesy of Charlesbridge. 
-US only
-ends 3/2/20
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged prizes
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of the title above from Charlesbridge for review/feature purposes. All thoughts, opinions, and reviews are my own.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Interview: Gillian McDunn, author of The Queen Bee and Me

I'm thrilled to have author Gillian McDunn stopping by today to chat about her new upcoming middle-grade book, The Queen Bee and Me...

The Queen Bee and Me 
By Gillian McDunn 
March 3, 20202 
Bloomsbury Children’s Books 

Meg has been friends with confident, self-assured Beatrix since kindergarten. She's always found comfort in Beatrix's shadow—even their families call them Beatrix-and-Meg. But middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix, especially when Meg tries to step outside her role as sidekick. Upsetting Beatrix means risking The Freeze—or worse. 

Meg gets into a special science elective and wants to take the class, no matter what Beatrix thinks. But when quirky new girl Hazel becomes Meg's science partner, Beatrix sets her sights on Hazel. At first, Meg is taken aback at how mean Beatrix can be—and how difficult it is to stand up to her friend. But as Meg gets to know Hazel while working on their backyard beehive project, she starts to wonder: What's it really like to be the Queen Bee? And more importantly: Is being Beatrix's friend worth turning down the possibility of finding her own voice? 


Q1. What three words best describe your book, The Queen Bee and Me? 

Friendship, science, beekeeping! 

Q2. Grab a copy of The Queen Bee and Me and answer the following: 

Favorite chapter? Chapter 24 (cafeteria scene).  

Favorite page? The very last one.  

Favorite setting? Ms. Dupart’s classroom 

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: 
 “I can’t believe you ate the bee-butt honey,” Beatrix whispers. 

Q3. What inspired The Queen Bee and Me? How did the story come to bee? 

Friendships are wonderful, but sometimes they can be tough. Watching my kids grow up and navigate these dynamics has made me reflect on situations in my own life. A lot of books have described bullying, but I was especially interested in “tricky” (sometimes called toxic) friendships—what happens when a friend is sometimes nice and sometimes not-so-nice.  

Q4. Can you tell us a bit about your main character Meg? What makes her special and what do you love about her? 

Meg is a keen observer who is trying to figure out her world. I love her loyalty—it’s part of why she feels so torn in her friendship with Beatrix. I also love that she makes mistakes! (And tries her best to fix them.) 

Q5. What do you hope readers learn and/or take away from The Queen Bee and Me? 

I hope readers will explore the idea that some best friends aren’t forever. Also, I hope that parents and kids will read the book together and have some honest discussions about friendship dynamics.  

Q6. In The Queen Bee and Me, Meg is working on a beehive project...what’s the neatest bee fact you learned while writing this book? 

One interesting honey bee fact is that worker bees have barbed stingers, which means they can only sting once--the barbs rip out the stinger, which creates a fatal injury to the bee. Queens have smooth stingers, so they can sting again and again. (Usually this would be in a fight for dominance against another queen.) 

Q7. Fill in the blanks: 

I’m really awesome at making scrambled eggs. 

I’m really embarrassed to admit how many pairs of socks I have. It’s more than one drawer full.  

The last great book I read was IN THE ROLE OF BRIE HUTCHENS... by Nicole Melleby. Brie is an eighth grader and soap opera super fan, and is extremely likable. In the story she’s dealing with growing up and coming out. I loved so many of the relationships and characters in this book! 

Q8. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Queen Bee and Me, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it? 

Cupcake flavor: honey-lavender (bees love lavender!) 
Filled with: orange-ricotta frosting (some things are even better once you dig into them)  
Frosted with: vanilla bean frosting tinted to match the pink on the cover Isabel Roxas created (I adore the cover!) 
Topped with: bee marshmallows, swirls of spun sugar, and crunchy honeycomb candy. 
It would be called BUZZ-WORTHY!  

GILLIAN McDUNN is the author of the middle-grade novels CATERPILLAR SUMMER and THE QUEEN BEE AND ME, published by Bloomsbury Children's Books. Visit her online at or @gillianmcdunn on Twitter & Instagram.